Advanced modeling

What can Agent Based Modeling say about “incels”?

Poke at this modern dating concept in python.

Dany Majard
11 min readJul 7, 2022

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Photo by ANIRUDH on Unsplash

Due to unfortunate events, a lot has been said and written about so called Incels, a concept now part of the manosphere / red pill dictionay. Interestingly, the story of the term “incel”, which I encourage you to learn about, is a story of unforeseen dynamics of a system that was set-up with static constraints in mind only. Unsurprisingly, it could have benefited from a little modeling. At the same time,

there aren’t enough conversations on agent-based modeling and simulated evolution, a rather exciting area of Machine Learning.

In short an entity (online forum) whose mission was to provide support to lonely and single individuals in order to get them out of a dire situation was formed — some sort of emergency homeless shelter of dating. What that meant is that the whole premise of the system was to get people out of the system, which is only sustainable if the influx of new members is big enough. As it was neither a charity nor a for-profit enterprise, this entity was self-moderated, which meant that those maintaining the system over time were the very members that failed to learn how to get out of the dire situation. This set-up (statics) creates over time a strong force directed away from the mission of the entity (dynamics). Members got less and less exposure to the learning necessary to maintain this mission.

The dynamics forced the entity to either die or adapt. It adapted. The support group based on self-betterment morphed into a circle-jerk of self-justification and resentment. A drastic shift in nature.

I would like to use this theme to introduce you to agent based modeling via Mesa, a fun little Python library that will allow you to test a few hypotheses on the subject and see the dynamics in real time. We won’t simulate the dynamics of the historical forum or the spread of the red-pill ideology but the conditions necessary for the existence of incels in a mating ecosystem.

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